What influences you?
From 2 Corinthians: 21-Day Bible Study
One of the most important choices we make is what we allow to influence us. Our major influences are whatever or whoever we spend the most time with. Whether we're aware of it or not, we're influenced by what and who we listen to.
Two powerful forces that battle to influence us are wisdom and foolishness. The Bible tells us they compete for our attention — crying out and inviting us to follow them (Proverbs 9).
Foolishness is deceptive; it can appear informed and attractive.
Wisdom and foolishness express themselves through the words of the influencers we allow into our lives. We'd like to think we'd never be influenced by foolish people. But, foolishness is deceptive and can appear informed and attractive.
Paul was frustrated with the Corinthian church because they allowed foolishness to deceive them. Flashy, self-proclaimed apostles preached a gospel inconsistent with the truth they originally believed.
But, Paul counters these false apostles' claims and gives us three tips to distinguish wise from foolish people:
1. Fools listen to anything anyone says. Wise people compare what they hear to God’s Word and the counsel of the saints to see if it’s truth (2 Corinthians 11:3-4).
2. Fools look to move up the ladder, becoming anyone and saying anything to get ahead. Wise people are faithful with the opportunities God gives them, and they put others first (2 Corinthians 11:7-15).
3. Fools boast about their achievements (2 Corinthians 11:17-18). The wise know to boast in the Lord (2 Corinthians 11:30-31).
Listening to foolish influences carries harmful consequences, but listening to wise people makes us wise (Proverbs 13:20).
In a world so full of opinions, the Bible will always be our rudder of truth and wisdom.
- Who/what influences you the most? Based on the three criteria above, are those influences wise or foolish?
- If necessary, what is one way you can begin to change who/what influences you today?
- What is one situation you need to ask God for wisdom about? "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you" (James 1:5).